Friday, July 23, 2010

Religion in Saudi Arabia

I hate to discuss news like this because it makes Islam look weird. There is a man in Saudi Arabia who has a small circus. He eats fire, has strongmen, someone puts bricks on his chest and they are broken with a sledge hammer. It's basic sideshow stuff. But the mutawain (religious police) in Saudi Arabia are extremely strict and think that it may be magic or witchcraft, so they stop the performances. If they're not careful, the performers could even be jailed or beaten.

As I said, I hate to discuss this, because some people don't understand that this is not the norm in Islam. Saudi Arabia has a strict form of Islam, known as Wahhabism, outside of the Kingdom. And the religious police are very strict, and often carry sticks/canes. Think of it as some of the very strict Christian sects in the US. There are some people who really think that rock-n-roll is evil, and that women who wear tight clothes and make-up look like whores. Unfortunately, these type of people have control in Saudi Arabia. That in itself is a long story, going back to the founding of the Kingdom by Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, who used this strict form of Islam to legitimize and consolidate his rule.

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